We farm in the driest part of Northern Ireland, but thankfully there has been just enough rain to keep all crops looking good, although the winter barley may have lost a few tillers. All T2s have been applied and disease levels are low. Spraying days have been almost non-existent with strong winds and showers for the last three weeks, so I had to work in the calmer evenings.
Michelle O’Neill has been named as the new minister for agriculture here. My priority list for her would be, to define an active farmer, abandon the plan to incinerate £12m worth of soil rejuvenating, yield-enhancing broiler litter, and third, to put in place a sensible land tenure option coupled with tax incentive for young farmers.
The Ulster Farmers’ Union monthly executive meeting is imminent. In Northern Ireland and Wales, farmers must not trim hedges until the 1 September, whereas in England and Scotland it is 1 August. I will be endorsing a resolution, proposing that farmers withdraw co-operation with the RSPB unless they provide scientific evidence that birds nest 31 days later over here than across the water. Wildlife organisations depend on farmers facilitating their surveys, but will my union be radical enough to bear their teeth in the cause of common sense.
Work is now complete on the new malting shed/store and next week will see our first attempt at production. If the product can meet required specification, the marketing campaign will begin in earnest. Early indications remain positive, but expressions of interest do not always transfer to hard sales. It’s great to have a challenge.
Mistake of the month: I allowed my nephews to discover that I have recently become an OAP. They requested “Old Grey Mare” on local radio for their “70-year-old” uncle. Cheeky brats!